Who were these MAEE staff?

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DO you recognise anyone in this Second World War photo, taken about 1942-3 at the Marine Aircraft Experimental Establishment at Rhu, which was officially known as RAF Helensburgh for security reasons?

Retired Merseyside local newspaper editor Robin Bird, whose father Bob was a photographer at MAEE and took this picture, has written and published one book about the top secret establishment, ‘Top Secret War Bird of World War Two’ — and he is hoping to find out who is in the picture for his next book.

He says that the man seated centre in the front row would appear to be the head of department, and he is surrounded by RAF and WAAF personnel and civilian trades people.

MAEE at Rhu was a mix of RAF and civilians carrying out research on seaplanes, anti-submarine weapons and air sea rescue until in 1945, at the end of the war, the establishment returned to Felixstowe where it was disbanded in 1953.

maeeRobin said: “Unfortunately there are no names on the back. MAEE does not have an old comrades branch or an RAF Squadron association to keep people in touch.

“Perhaps someone may recognise a face — many MAEE people had digs in local houses — I know it is a long shot!”

Family problems have delayed the publication of Robin’s second book, ‘Secret Air Force of World War Two’, but he is still determined to publish all the new information he has managed to accumulate.

Robin added: “It is a fascinating story not previously told in full. MAEE tested all types of seaplanes and flying-boats and used land-based aircraft to make drops of the Barnes Wallis Highball bomb designed to sink the German battleship Tirpitz.”